Tuesday, February 11, 2020

A few projects, and finally the chair is fixed

After Jan got back from Colorado, her sister Karen came in for a visit.  We enjoyed catching up, having many lunches and dinners, and were able to plan a bit for some caravan traveling with her and Tom in their motorhome this year.  Yes, our plans are coming together and it looks like we'll be spanning the country once again this year.  We plan to spend almost 8 weeks in Maine to be followed by a week visiting our son Jason and Joanne in Buffalo, then westward bound we go, back to Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico.  Then a detour to Las Vegas where we will meet up with Karen and Tom to see a show, and then with a loop down into Arizona, back to Taos for Thanksgiving.  Pretty extensive trip, but we are always happiest when we are changing our surroundings.

As I said previously, we ended up ordering a whole new chair mechanism, a six pack, and a new memory and control box with harness for our inoperable driver's captain chair.  We had to dismantle it completely into 3 pieces to be able to access the guts, made much more difficult by the fact we couldn't move it.  So while waiting we accomplished another item on our list.

We have a 50 amp power cord that powers in and out.  When retracting it piles the cord in a "bucket", and after 12 years and going in and out who knows how many times the cord was showing signs of wear, abrasions, and internal twisting of the wires, time for a new one.  Now they come in several lengths, 36', 45', 50', so it was a simple affair to pull it out all the way, measure it, and then estimate how much wire was inside the coach running to our transfer switch.  Doing that we ordered a 36' power cord.  We wanted a longer cord but we didn't think there would be enough room in the bucket to hold that much.  A few challenges came up, of course, accessibility being the biggest.  Our transfer switch is fairly easy to get to as long as I contorted myself to get in the basement, keep from stabbing myself in the head with sharp corners, and turning, sitting mostly to get to it.  From there it was a piece of cake:-)
The big gray container is the "bucket"

The transfer switch.  The top big wire is the power cord,
the bottom comes from the generator

A contorted me after removing the cord
The other thing to consider is the cord comes in through a hole in the bottom of the coach, then goes up through a pvc pipe to the mechanism that moves the cord in and out, then into the bucket, out through the bottom of the bucket, up and around to the transfer switch.  I had estimated about 5 feet overall and added to our measured length made me order the 36' cord.  WRONG.  I came up with a great plan to tie a rope to the old cord, feed it through as we pulled out the old cord, than attach the rope to the new cord and pull it back through, a good plan as it turned out, except, we couldn't get the cord to come out?!?  Removing the bucket to see what the story was would be impossible, so we cut a hole in the bucket to see what was what.  We found a collar, which wasn't completely unexpected, but we also found a big tangle of maybe 3 feet or so jammed in there as well.
The hole in the bucket and most of the tangle
After we removed the collar and the tangle we were able to pull the cord with attached rope out to be able to run the new cord through, and we found that our new cord was perhaps 5' shorter than the old one!  We debated sending it back and getting a longer one, but at this point we had no power cord, as we had to cut it to get it out, would have to wait probably a week to get another one, so we agreed, hardly ever are we in a situation where we have trouble reaching the power receptacle in a campground, so we pressed on.
New cord almost in

Got it all installed, and found out we couldn't reach our power receptacle!  Short by about 2 feet.  So I quickly made an extension cord from a good section of the old cord and we were back in business.
Our extension cord
Later we found a 10' section of the old cord that looked good, so I made another extension cord we will carry with us if we run into problems in the future.

We had a rainy day to break things up so I took advantage of that time and was able to tie some more flies.
Pretty productive couple hours
Our seat parts arrive and we get right to it.  What a job.  Trying to fit the wiring harness and the control box into the six pack was challenging, but luckily Jan is great at puzzles, so eventually we got it all to fit, albeit with some rewiring of the new harness.
Our work station with the new six pack

Reworking the harness

All packed into the six pack
After we get the harness in we were able to power it up to see if it worked correctly.......and it didn't, no memory, intermittent movement, and a couple movements were backwards!  So back on the phone to the manufacturer, several phone calls back and forth, they found we needed a different memory box, so they graciously overnighted the new part in, and this time it worked like a champ.  Don't think we are quite done yet, though.  This six pack moves the seat forward, back, up and down.  The seat also has heat, lumbar support, and the seat cushion moves forward and back, so I have to splice into the brand new harness to power up the rat's nest of wires to make everything work.  A bit nerve-racking, but it all turned out fine.
Some of the wires in the seat itself

Jan helping to feed wires and bolts into position
All we had to do then was reassemble everything and all was good.  Now we have a movable seat again!
Jan working to get the last bolts in

This gives you an idea of the rat's nest of wires
So we celebrated our accomplishment with cocktail hour with friends, Debbie and Harold, and mother nature rewarded us with an awesome sunset!

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